He had so little time left. Of course, He would want to make every moment count. Every word He would speak, would be forever remembered as valuable.
Jesus’ foremost commitment in His last hours was divided between praying to His Father and preparing His beloved friends for the future. And I am convinced that Scripture wants for us to eavesdrop because we too are the beloved. Listen carefully.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
It is the vine that nourishes its branches, giving them everything they need to thrive and be productive. And then, the branch yields fruit. Interesting thought to ponder—the fruit is never for the branch’s use or enjoyment, it’s meant for others. The branches already have everything they could possibly want or need. They merely respond by producing fruit for others!
Scripture makes it very clear—if you have breath, you have value and purpose. For an unbeliever, breath reveals God’s patience and longstanding love for them. He wants a real, committed relationship. For the believer, we are breathing because we are purposed to enjoy God and to bear lasting fruit for His glory.
The disciple of Christ is invited into a partnership, likened to the relationship between gardener, vine and branches. Under the care of the gardener, the vine produces branches and works through them. And the branch bears luscious fruit. But the branch could never yield fruit without the release of power from the vine.
We, the branches, are merely a conduit of God’s love. The fruit yielded for the benefit of others is a beautiful extension of God’s love for the least, the lost, the last. God also provides fruit for the encouragement and strengthening of His church, His people.
In other words, God will use His production of fruit for the benefit of believers and unbelievers. Just as His rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). God is good to all!
As His branch, we have every reason to rejoice that the Creator and Sustainer of life actually invites us to join Him in making an eternal difference. It is humbling to think that He allows us to be a part of a work that far exceeds our capabilities. Impossible works, unless we totally entrust ourselves to His care and nurturing.
I won’t presume to understand everything about God’s “pruning.” But I do know that He will intentionally prune sin from our lives. He will absolutely strip us of anything that promotes self-serving and self-glorification. He may also prune things and people from our lives so we can flourish. He may prune for our protection and growth. I also know that our role is to yield to this pruning, devoting ourselves to Him and trustIng His plans.
Jesus tells us the key to this kind of obedient surrender is found when we “abide” in Him. Enjoy His presence. Trust Him. Obey Him. Rest in Him and His power. And that is only possible when we fix our eyes on Him and the things that matter to Him.
This is all a divine mystery that is divinely possible through the partnership of His divine love with a heart that is willing to surrender.
Jesus never asks the impossible of us. He knows the struggle and He knows surrender. When He experienced life as a man, He trusted His Father (the gardener) to provide everything He needed to endure the brutality of the cross, the heartbreak of abandonment, the cruelty of death and the darkness of the grave. He trusted His Father to raise Him from the pit and finish the work of salvation for mankind.
Abide in Him. We can trust Jesus!